Nick Anderson, Aaron Kelley, Nick Schmidt, Westen Weiss and Billy Nally make up the band which has coined itself The Wrecks. With only its EP, Panic Vertigo, it’s making major moves by playing Lollapalooza and other major venues around the United States, including Filmore and the House of Blues.
Before they played an electric performance at the BMI stage at Lollapalooza, The Phoenix sat down with some of the members to ask a few questions about their favorite artists, being sponsored by Nerf and how The Wrecks came together.
How are you guys enjoying Lolla so far?
Nick Schmidt: We just got to Lollapalooza and it’s 90 something degrees. It’s so hot.
Bill Nally: I watched lovelytheband for 15-20 minutes until we started coming over. I’d rather hang over here — it’s nice and shady.
Any bands that you’re excited to see at Lollapalooza?
Aaron Kelley: St. Vincent is playing and I’m super stoked about that.
Who are your favorite bands?
Nick Schmidt: Cage the Elephant and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Aaron Kelley: I grew up listening to a lot of pop punk.
Any other bands you’re particularly in love with?
Aaron Kelley: Blink-182 has been my all-time favorite band since I was little. [I also love] The Story So Far [and] Neck Deep.
Billy Nally: Neck Deep is cool. [So are] State Champs.
Aaron Kelley: Knuckle Puck.
So, were you super upset about Vans Warped touring ending?
Aaron Kelley: Yeah, I wasn’t a die-hard Warped Tour fan. I didn’t go every summer, but it’s kinda crazy that this is the last year. … Warped Tour formed tons of gear and brands.
Speaking of brands, I hear that you all got sponsored by Nerf, is that right?
All: Yes! It’s crazy!
Aaron Kelley: Dude, we have so many Nerf guns.
Nick Schmidt: I had probably 50 [Nerf guns] sent to our house in L.A. and then 50 sent to the studio in New York. We have too many Nerf guns.
Billy Nally: We’re just going to give them all to charity after we’re done.
Is this your first time in Chicago?
Nick Schmidt: It’s our sixth time [in Chicago], I think.
Billy Nally: It’s definitely one of my favorite cities to play. The crowds are always cool.
Where are you guy’s based right now?
Aaron Kelley: Los Angeles, kind of.
Nick Schmidt: We’ve been kind of spread out. We started in L.A. but ever since we started touring, we’re constantly touring, and now we’re just in the studio in New York doing tons [of work]. We’re pretty nomadic, but we started from L.A. together in the same house.
Billy Nally: Me and him [pointing to Nick Schmidt] are from Jersey, the Jersey Shore — literally where the TV show is filmed.
Aaron Kelley: Me and the singer [Nick Anderson] started talking a long time ago on Facebook and we stayed in touch. Then he just started writing with these guys and worked through our manager. We started a band and these guys drove across the country, and … just did it.
You’re all pretty self-made, yeah?
Aaron Kelley: We just went for it. Whatever happens, happens.
Nick Schmidt: I told my mom like two weeks before I went to L.A.
Billy Nally: Me and [Nick Schmidt] were about to get an apartment in Nashville. I was on the phone with him like, “Yo, this apartment is sick and x amount of money.” Not even 24 hours later, it was like “Scratch that, we have to go to L.A.”
What’s been your favorite part of the process?
Aaron Kelley: Being on a bus and traveling.
Billy Nally: It’s nice being in a van because you get to look out the window and just see everything. Being in a bus, you just wake up and it’s Groundhog Day.
On tour, what has been your rider staple?
All: Tito’s Vodka, Throat Coat, Redbull and fruit.